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What Did Jesus Say? (2012) - 7 topics 

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Jesus Was Sent To Israel -- What Does That Tell Us About The Mission to the Gentiles?

John's email of August 14, 2012 says:

Jesus is our Lord, I have never found any contradictions in the bible yet. Mat.15:24 is a question for you.

My Reply


How is Matt 15:24 a question for me? It reads:

He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."

At the same time, Isaiah said the Gentiles have seen a great light in reference to Messiah. And Jesus taught in His last words to the apostles:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20 NIV)

So pre-Ascension, Jesus made the thrust of the ministry to non-Gentiles, although this did not prohibit Jesus from trying, when the opportunity arose, to reach the Samaritan woman by the well, and the centurion, and other Gentiles. Then when Jesus was about to ascend, Jesus gave the original Apostles a new thrust of their ministry -- to make disciples of all "nations" (which in Hebrew would be inclusive of Gentiles as well as Israelites), and to "teach them to obey everything I have commanded you."
Hence, while Jesus was sent to Israel, Jesus sent the original apostles (which means "messenger" in Greek) to the nations - a word that should include Gentiles - to make them disciples and teach all His commands pre-Ascension
Do you read this differently?

[5/6/2013 In response to the same question by someone else, I added the following]
Ray, I would add that Peter in Acts 11 was told by God to evangelize the Gentile Cornelius, and to treat them as a target of evangelization... Paul was still not around in ministry. In Acts  15, Peter stands up at a conference at which Paul attended, and Peter says the HOLY SPIRIT appointed PETER (not Paul) as the "Apostle to the Gentiles." 
Thus, Jesus had clearly directed the 12 to evangelize Gentiles. The Holy Spirit also pushed Peter in particular, to evangelize Gentiles. This took place all before Paul was involved in any major ministry. The Holy Spirit designated Peter, not Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. So nothing was vital about Paul in God's plan, and nothing revealed in Acts says that Paul later was chosen over God's earlier choice of Peter to be the 'apostle to the Gentiles.'

Original Testament Openness to Gentiles

It would be odd if the New Testament would be exclusively to Israel, and not include Gentiles. For listen to this prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the Temple, as recorded in Kings, that Yahweh would hear the Gentiles' prayer at the Temple:

“Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for your name's sake (for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house,  hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name” (1 Kings 8:41- 43)